02.01.15

Crushing Software Patents and Patent Maximalism in the US Still Not the Goal of Political Actors

Posted in America, Patents at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

False alarm about “trolls”

Bell

Summary: The debate about scope of patents in the United States still misguided if at all existent as both Michelle Lee and the GOP obsess over “trolls”

OUR morning articles regarding the latest EPO propaganda and regarding EPC 2000 violations by the EPO focus heavily on violations and ethical issues in Europe, but what about north America? We have not taken our eyes off the ball, only accumulated information over the past week and a half. Today we would like to highlight some news and share a summary thereof.

As our readers may recall from last year, the GOP made noise about patent reform, which of course was inherently flawed (GOP exists to serve large corporations, not public interests). “GOP prepares assault on ‘patent trolls’,” said this headline from The Hill several days ago, but it’s quite an ambitious claim with little substance. Well, in the interests of big corporations GOP wants to crush small trolls, but not big trolls such as Microsoft. Here is what The Hill wrote: “Congressional Republicans see legislation advancing “early this year” to address the problem of “patent trolls,” and advocates are gearing up for the fight.

“Republicans are bullish on their chances of passing changes to the legal system to combat so-called “patent trolls” who are accused of extracting settlements with threats of frivolous litigation.

“Legislative action has support from both parties and President Obama, raising the prospect that a bill could become an early bipartisan achievement of the new Congress.

“At a time where there are a lot of differences between the political parties here in Washington, it seems to be one area certainly among others, where the White House, where Republicans and Democrats all agree that we need to pass legislation,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said last week, during the nomination hearing for President Obama’s pick to lead the U.S. Patent Office.”

What is the GOP’s plan for very wealthy and large trolls like Microsoft or its trolling proxy Intellectual Ventures? Passage of costs won’t stop them. It’s another political charade; both political parties (the US really has only two that ‘count’) claim they want patent reform, but both offer more words than actions and even the words — let aside actions — don’t echo the public’s best interest and will.

Michelle Lee, in the mean time, is receiving attention because she speaks about patent trolls. She is showing sympathy towards trolls, saying that the term “troll” is not helpful. Either way, it’s the wrong thing to focus on. The issue much greater than trolls is patent scope; the USPTO is boosting its ‘sale’ of patents, with 92% of patent applications ending up as 'success' and the number of granted patents growing rapidly (not a good sign as patent lawyers would like us to believe by conflation with innovation).

“Outlining her vision for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,” says the lawyers-centred site, “Deputy Director Michelle Lee—whose nomination to head the agency is pending before the Senate—on Thursday stressed quality and innovation in an hourlong talk before a Washington think tank.”

If she gets installed (promoted) as the USPTO’s Director, then we can expect little or nothing to change for the better. Like Obama, she would be just the “Hope” Director, of the fake “Change” Director. Look what a disaster David Kappos turned out to be.

While some sites continue trying to solve the troll issue rather than the scope issue (trying to pool together resources for fighting back, not reforming the system itself), we are left disappointed as the debate that used to exist (and thrive) over software patents is now marginalised. “Tracking demand letters is not the only defense,” wrote Steph, “I get that. But if those who have been hit by trolls would expose the details then maybe, just maybe, we could build out own Troll Field Researchers Organization, graph the information, hunt them all down, and rid the business landscape of this plague.”

How about just targeting their patents and those who issue the patents in the first place? It would tackle the problem at the root.

Last year SCOTUS undid what CAFC had done for decades (authorising the patenting of software patents). TechDirt says that SCOTUS “Smacks Down CAFC Yet Again: But This Time It May Help The Patent Trolls”. To quote TechDirt: “Another Supreme Court ruling… and another smackdown of CAFC, the Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit that handles all patent appeals. This regular smackdown of CAFC by the Supreme Court has become such a recurring story that it would almost be surprising if the Supreme Court took a patent case to do anything but smackdown CAFC. The key issue here is that the Supreme Court basically has taken away CAFC’s powers to review a patent directly to determine if the patent itself is valid or not. Instead, it can only review the district court’s findings, to determine if there was an obvious error by those district courts in handling claim construction. While this takes away power from CAFC, it actually is seen as beneficial to patent trolls, since (especially lately), the now-chastened CAFC has suddenly been rejecting patents left and right. But that might stop now as the CAFC’s ability to do that is now greatly limited.”

In other news, while Apple propaganda sites keep bragging about Apple patents on software [1, 2], including in my field of expertise (computer vision), the British media says that fear of Apple patents is decreased. “At the start of 2015,” says The Register, “various developments suggest that the playground bullies of the past will lose a lot of their power. Qualcomm is on the defensive in China, while the holders of fundamental mobile patents are hitting back against Apple.”

It is reported elsewhere that Namco’s patent on loading screens (yes, loading screens!) is now expired. “In 1995,” says GameSpot, “Namco secured a patent for loading screen mini-games, but 20 years later it’s about to run out. Danny investigates it’s effect on the industry, and what this might mean for the future of loading screens.”

Such patents should never have been granted in the first place. Just because you do something “on a computer” or “over the Internet” does not make it innovative. Watch this other news about yet more software patents dying in the US, this time affecting so-called ‘social media’ (surveillance) platforms. As Lexology put it: “The process of creating “link relationships” between documents and personal profiles used by Facebook®, LinkedIn®, and other social media platforms came under fire in October 2012 via a patent infringement suit filed by technology company Bascom Research, LLC. Facebook®, LinkedIn®, and three other network software companies were named as defendants in that suit. More than two years later, and in the wake of the seismic ruling issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, Bascom’s challenge came to an unsuccessful end when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California determined that Bascom’s patents for the linking technology were invalid as being drawn to abstract ideas.”

Here again we see an example where software patents are crushed by Alice. Don’t expect patent lawyers to cover a case such as this. They prefer to mislead or lie by omission, giving coverage only to cases where patents on software endure a Court’s assessment.

According to this new article from David Kravets, not only software patents are being crushed, narrowing the scope of patenting. “The Supreme Court in 2013 struck down Myriad Genetics’ patents of the human genes BRCA1 and BRCA2,” he writes. “Mutations of those genes have been linked to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The patents had given Myriad a monopoly over medical testing of those genes in a bid to detect early signs of cancer, often charging women $3,000 per test or more.”

“Patent litigation over human gene breast cancer testing is ending,” says Kravets, perhaps ending a sad chapter in the history of patent expansion.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. EPO Staff Representation Complains That EPO Management Exploits Pandemic and 'House Arrests' to Overwork Staff, Lower Quality

    The EPO keeps breaking its promises to workers; not only are key employees seeing their net salary cut (inflation factored in) but pensioners too are being robbed and in the meantime the total time spent on work is increasing



  2. Fake News is Not a 'Wing' Thing

    The two-party corporate-led system (and media) would have us obsess/bicker about accuracy of news based on some binary/dual system of blind loyalty rather than underlying facts and priorities



  3. Links 25/1/2021: Huawei on GNU/Linux, NuTyX 20.12.1, Whisker Menu 2.5.3, Lutris 0.5.8.3, Linux 5.11 RC5

    Links for the day



  4. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in ZDNet is the Norm

    ZDNet continues to emit lots of garbage 'journalism', in effect Microsoft PR and what's known as "black PR" for Linux; just like Bleeping Computer, which ZDNet hired this writer from, there's no adherence to facts, just smears and innuendo



  5. Truth Tellers Aren't an Enemy of Free Software

    There's a perpetual attack on people who speak out against actors and corporations in positions of great power, however subtle and indirect those attacks may seem on the surface (they don't wish to be held accountable for defaming activists)



  6. The Linux Foundation, With Over 124 Million Dollars in Annual Revenue, is in Trouble Because of the Pandemic, So It's Trying to Reinvent Itself as Training and Certifications Outfit

    With mountains of cash and a Public Relations (PR) or marketing business model the so-called 'Linux' Foundation became reliant on travel, lodging, booths and speeches on sale; COVID-19 is a great risk to that business model



  7. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 24, 2021



  8. Our Move Further Away From the World Wide Web, the Browser Monopolies, HTTP, and HTML

    The World Wide Web (WWW) is going down a bad path and a clearly regressive direction; the solution isn't going 'retro' but exploring more sophisticated systems which are robust to censorship (localised or globalised) and downtime (related to censorship) while reducing surveillance by leveraging encryption at the endpoints



  9. Important Issues Not Entertained in the Community, Especially Critics of the Status Quo

    here's corporate infiltration inside communities (for oligarchy hunts volunteer, unpaid labour) and those who speak about that as a threat to our cause and objectives are painted as misguided outcasts who must be ignored



  10. Internet Origins of the Mob

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  11. When Proprietary Software Users Dictate the Freedom-Leaning Communities

    Fedora doesn't care about software freedom and its steward (or parent company) is sometimes imposing proprietary software on staff; they've quit caring



  12. In 2020 Onwards 'Open Source' is Just a Marketing Ploy of Monopolies, Unlike Free Software

    More people are nowadays seeing or witnessing 'Open Source' for what it truly is; the term has become a misleading marketing term of proprietary software firms looking to rebrand as "ethical" (e.g. by sharing some code with other proprietary software firms, over proprietary platforms such as GitHub)



  13. Microsoft: The Year After We Bought GitHub There Was a Significant Decline in Number of New Projects on GitHub

    Microsoft has just admitted that in 2019 GitHub saw a very significant decline in number of new projects (and users, which it is conveniently miscounting by adding 'phantom' ones) on the site. Just what we had heard before they confirmed it (and they foresaw this effect of the takeover, hence the lies about "loving" Linux).



  14. Social Control Media is a Passing Fad, We Should All Go Back to Blogging and Subscribing to RSS Feeds

    The whole "social control media" phenomenon has been oversold or promoted using lies; in reality, as a mountain of evidence serves to show, it's a way to manage society at a macro scale



  15. As Andrei Iancu Removes Himself From the Patent and Trademark Office All Eyes Are on Biden's Next Nomination

    Patent zealots and their front groups already lobby Joe Biden to put one of them in charge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; we'll soon see if Joe Biden "means business" or simply means monopoly/large corporations (and their law firms/departments)



  16. Data Point: GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops Nearly Tripled in the Past Decade, Peaking This Past Month (All-Time High)

    Contrary to what some publishers try to tell us, GNU/Linux is still growing and mostly at the expense of Windows



  17. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 23, 2021



  18. Links 24/1/2021: Nouveau X.Org Driver Release and GhostBSD 21.01.20

    Links for the day



  19. InteLeaks – Part XXX: Harbor Research's Pseudo-scientific 'Research' for Intel, Bizarrely Suggesting a Microsoft Partnership for a Domain Largely Controlled or Dominated by Linux

    The full document that Intel paid for and in turn used to justify cracking down on Free software (obliterating Free software-based workflows inside Intel), instead outsourcing all sorts of things to proprietary software traps of Microsoft



  20. Chromium and Chrome Are Not Free Software But an Example of Microsoft-Fashioned Openwashing Tactics

    It's time to reject Google's Web monopoly (shared with other companies but still an oligopoly); removing its Web browser would be a good start



  21. Links 23/1/2021: Chromium Pains and New Debian Maintainers

    Links for the day



  22. InteLeaks – Part XXIX: Harbor Research Did Not Produce a Study But an Elaborate Hoax for Intel, Suggesting Microsoft Partnership and Outsourcing Based on Zero Evidence and No Solid Rationale

    The pseudo-scientific ‘report’ from Harbor Research is more of the same nonsense we’ve grown accustomed to; unethical if not rogue firms are being paid to lie — or to perpetuate falsehoods which someone stands to gain from



  23. Video: The State of Communities Surrounding GNU/Linux Distributions

    A discussion about the state of volunteer efforts going into the development, maintenance (in the 'maintainership' sense) and support/advocacy of GNU/Linux distros



  24. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 22, 2021



  25. InteLeaks – Part XXVIII: Intel Served Report From Microsoft Boosters, Who Provide No Actual Evidence and No Science to Back Their Supposed 'Findings'

    Findings and recommendations from Harbor 'Research' aren't based on any scientific methods, just perceived loyalty, branding, and a bunch of unsourced quotes (from unnamed people with ridiculous job titles like a soup of buzzwords)



  26. Erosion of Communities, Ascent of Corporate-Industrial Fake Communities

    Despite the attempts to manipulate/trick developers (and sometimes users) into becoming unpaid workforce of for-profit companies, there's an exodus back to real communities, which aren't subjected to the fury of wealthy shareholders who utterly dislike or simply don't care for software freedom



  27. The Corporate 'Left' and the Open Source Pseudo 'Movement'

    President Biden may not be as bad as his predecessor, but that hardly means very much; software freedom is still threatened, along with many other things



  28. Links 22/1/2021: pfSense Plus, Endless OS Foundation, and Many Laptops With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  29. The Linux Foundation is Trying to Obscure Racism Using Microsoft-Inspired Tactics (Vouchers Disguised as Actual Money)

    The Linux Foundation and its PR stunts don’t help combat racism; one might argue that the Foundation is leveraging racism, which prevails in the US, to paint itself as benevolent and caring (offering immaterial things and self-serving press releases)



  30. InteLeaks – Part XXVII: 'Pulling a Nokia' on Intel (Outsourcing to Microsoft)

    The recommendation of an Intel marriage with Microsoft (even in units that deal mostly with Linux) is an insulting slap across the face of developers employed there; we take a look at recommendations made to IoTG (Intel) by a firm with Microsoft orientation


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts